The men’s tennis team sent four athletes to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region Championship in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Sept. 24 and 25.
“As a whole, our team did well with complementing each other and motivating each other to do well, and really having each other’s backs through the tournament,” said Mike Siegel, ’19. “I think all of us really worked hard and had personal success. Even if we didn’t win, we at least tried our best and represented our school well and with respect.”
Siegel competed in singles over the weekend, closing out the weekend with a 2-1 personal record.
Captain Jai Redkar, ’18, competed in doubles with Cooper Miller, ’20, and singles, advancing three rounds in singles play.
“I think in terms of my personal game, I definitely played at a high level for the first couple of matches, which was good to see,” said Redkar. “All of our hard work that we’ve been putting in was paying off, and the other guys—even if they lost the matches—there were a lot of positive things in each match.”
Head Coach Jared Luteran said Redkar’s performance was a highlight of the weekend.
“It was his first time at an ITA tournament, so I’m sure he was a bit nervous. He won his first match and went on to win his next, so he won two rounds in the main draw, and was a bright spot of the weekend,” Luteran said.
Though the players did well at the tournament, each saw areas to improve upon for future matches.
“Since none of us won the tournament, we want to improve on our skills,” Siegel said. “We all need to work on different things to make us better in the spring season and finishing out the fall season on Friday.”
Redkar added that staying positive and patient on the court is another thing to improve on in the spring season.
“The biggest challenge of the weekend was keeping focus through the entire process,” Redkar said. “There was a lot of rain delays and downtime where we were sitting around and waiting to play. It was very drawn out so staying loose and staying focused throughout was definitely a big challenge.”
Luteran said the schedule for the first day was full and there were many matches to complete before the advancing rounds can begin. Due to the rain delays, the team was spread across different locations for the matches.
“We’re used to all being together and supporting each other, and the first day we were at different sites within the Kalamazoo area. We had to be independent and rely on ourselves to make sure we had the schedule in order and weren’t missing anything,” Siegel said.
Athletes are chosen to go to the ITA Central Region tournament through a nomination process of top athletes from each team, then the tournament committee choosing how many players from each team can attend based on ranking and previous season record.
This year, Luteran said he chose to bring four athletes to the tournament, each playing only singles or doubles to maximize the number of attendees from Allegheny.
“The ITA Regionals is a huge honor to even be invited [to]. I was lucky I got to go,” Siegel said. “To compete at that level was eye-opening because it’s so much better competition than the matches we play here. Even though we play good schools, it’s a different feeling and it was motivating for me to become better as a player.”
Redkar added that the competition at the tournament was more intense than other matches.
“All the best players of the region are there and you have to play your best level of tennis to do well,” Redkar said. “Other matches are more team-oriented, and this is more individual because you are representing your team, but playing for yourself.”